Koos Bekker, South Africa’s media mogul, transformed the broadcasting landscape, amassing a fortune in the process and making him one of the continent’s most influential billionaires.

Early Life:

Born Jacobus Petrus “Koos” Bekker in 1952, he grew up in South Africa with a keen interest in media and storytelling. An alumnus of Stellenbosch University and Columbia University in New York, his academic years exposed him to global perspectives on media and business.

Rising Star in the Media Skies:

It wasn’t long after his educational pursuits that Koos began to make waves in the broadcasting world. His golden opportunity came in the form of M-Net, South Africa’s first pay-TV channel. Under his leadership, the service expanded and became a household name. This success laid the foundation for his future ventures and a platform like MultiChoice.

Major Achievements:

  • Co-founded M-Net, which evolved into the MultiChoice Group, boasting millions of subscribers across Africa.
  • Spearheaded the creation of Naspers, a multinational internet group, which became one of the largest technology investors in the world.
  • Played an instrumental role in the rise of Tencent, a Chinese tech giant, through Naspers’s early investment.
  • Consistently advocated for innovation and technological adoption in the African media landscape.


While Koos Bekker’s journey has been marked by numerous successes, it has not been devoid of challenges. His association with Naspers faced criticism due to its apartheid-era beginnings. Moreover, the company’s substantial influence in South African media raised concerns over media diversity and monopoly. However, Bekker consistently focused on global expansion, reducing any single market’s dominance on the company’s portfolio.

Legacy/Current Status:

Koos Bekker’s vision transformed not just South African but global media. Through strategic investments and foresight, he positioned Naspers as a global powerhouse. Although he stepped down as the CEO of Naspers in 2014, his legacy is cemented as a visionary who foresaw the digital age’s potential. Today, he remains active, continuously exploring new avenues in media and tech.

Quick Facts:

  • Net Worth: Estimated at over $2.3 billion.
  • Key Companies: M-Net, MultiChoice, Naspers, Tencent.
  • Notable Quote: “You have to adapt to new technology rather than oppose it.”
  • Did You Know?: Under Bekker’s leadership, Naspers made a $32 million investment in Tencent in 2001. By 2021, this stake was worth more than $200 billion.


Koos Bekker’s journey from a local broadcasting enthusiast to a global media titan epitomizes visionary leadership and an ability to adapt to a rapidly changing digital world. As his influence continues to shape media landscapes, one might ponder: In what other ways will the Media’s Midas touch the future?

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